Collection of the week: Take Three Photographers

You'll notice we're taking a slightly different approach for this week's email and although we've covered these three photographers in past COTW emails, we thought a triplicate-style memory refresh would be helpful, especially when we're considering such outstanding talent as Roger Mayne, Shirley Baker and Sandra Lousada.

Roger Mayne

Through the 1950s and 1960s, Roger Mayne documented the British working-class at work and play, be it in a bicycle factory in Nottingham, a slate mine in Wales or a bingo hall in Sheffield. Especially evocative is his photographic record of the life of Southam Street, the fruit of five years observing this tough area in London's North Kensington.

Perhaps most memorable of all are his photographs of the children of the period - playing, fighting, laughing and crying. His fashion-conscious teds, mods on scooters, rockers on motorbikes, enjoying themselves at Battersea fun fair, roller skating in Bath, dancing in Sheffield youth clubs earned him the reputation as 'the photographic laureate of teenage Britain'. More recently we've added colour images from his series 'Britain at Play' commissioned for the Milan Triennale in 1964.

We have almost 2400 Roger Mayne images online but you can view a selection of 300 here.

Shirley Baker

The photographs of Shirley Baker (first shown in the acclaimed 'Here Yesterday, and Gone Today' exhibition at Salford Art Gallery in 1986) were taken mainly between 1960 and 1973 and capture a time of rapid social and economic change in the lives of working class people in Manchester and Salford.

The 1930s saw the beginning of systematic clearance of slums, a process interrupted by the Second World War and only resumed in earnest in the late 1950s. In the twenty years between 1955 and 1975, some 1.3 million homes were demolished nationwide.

When Shirley Baker began photographing the streets of her native Salford, it seemed that no-one was interested in recording the human story of these soon-to-be demolished communities: old ladies sitting on doorsteps in a row of condemned houses, men with handcarts searching for refuse to be recycled, children playing amongst rubble and abandoned cars. That she chose to preserve these moments on photographic film seems now like the only perceptive response to a fast vanishing environment. View edited highlights of Shirley Baker's work here.

Sandra Lousada

Sandra Lousada grew up amidst a circle of actors, writers and artists. Her grandfather was the writer and politician A. P. Herbert; her mother was stage designer Jocelyn Herbert and her near neighbours were the Redgrave family. Since childhood she has had privileged access to the worlds of literature, the arts, theatre and film. Surrounded by this wealth of diverse talents, she searched for a language of her own and by the late 1950s had found it, in photography.

Sandra's frequently intimate portraits include a stellar cast of sitters including David Hockney, Edith Evans, Jean Shrimpton, Laurence Oliver and Benjamin Britten, often captured in moments of spontaneity at work or at home with family. Many of these were featured in the book, 'Public Faces Private Places, Portraits of Artists 1956-2008' published in 2009, and a subsequent 2012 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, 'Work and Performance', celebrated her fifty years as a working photographer.

Aside from her portrait work, Sandra's fashion photography follows changing trends and tastes over five decades. Her shoots for Petticoat magazine, aimed at young fashion-conscious women through the late sixties and early seventies, perfectly sum up the bright kookiness of the decade's 'youthquake' style, while her bridal fashion shoots from the 1980s are brimming with lush romance. As Sandra continues to work through her archive we will be adding more material, but click here to browse our selection.

We hope you're continuing to enjoy our Collection of the Week emails. Remember the library is running as usual; we are working remotely but are ready to answer any requests. Please email pictures@maryevans.com or call 020 8318 0034 if you need pictures, a quote or simply want to keep in touch!

Mary Evans Picture Library Ltd.  59 Tranquil Vale  Blackheath  London  SE3 0BS. United Kingdom.
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